And yet, reading it again for the sake of writing these questions--and as I come up with a title for this entry--what about love? Do we not see three distinct, and perhaps more fully demonstrated than the typical examinations, forms or manifestations of love? Fatherly, communal, fraternal? Perhaps this is the most Christian of chapters in the book, which book is profoundly Christian. (And I hope I'm not overstepping myself by saying it. Maybe "Christian" is a pigeonhole of the broader topic--just what I'm titling this entry....)
- Hail the valient and hopelessly flawed father! Every father is, and especially those who won't admit it or are totally oblivious to their ineptitude.
- What about Cal's search for anthills? I picture myself driving home in the fall back in my high school days and seeing mountains of leaves piled up along the side of the street. Impulsively I swerve the car and splash up a great rooster tail and make it home a little more invigorated than I would have had I been just that much more conservative. Then I hear on the news (later that very season in fact) about homeowners planting bricks, rocks, or cinder blocks under their leaves to get even with the careless drivers wrecking the fruits of their labors. Needless to say, I don't go barelling through piles of leaves anymore. But does Cal think ahead at all, and mean further than, "Hey, let's wreck something and if I kick it this way I know I'll really wreck it," or is his wrecking of anthills heedless and impulsive?
- Lee's story. Who needs the telling of it more, Lee or Adam? (Trick question. The answer is neither. Read my mind! What am I talking about?)
- I will say no more; this story--and maybe I am satisfactorily like Samuel in this regard--is sacred and doesn't need my defense or pathetic disections, so I will leave it to you. Regarding Samuel, consider Lee's words after Adam asks if he ever told the great man: "No. I didn't. I wish I had. He loved a celebration of the human soul. Such things were like a personal triumph to him." What triumph's of the human soul have you recently witnessed and/or celebrated?
- Why is the re-newed impulse to write Charles suddenly strong enough--or Adam finally subjectible enough--to actually bring about a letter? (And I love how obviously self-conscious the writing is, which writing doesn't even feel forced by Steinbeck. That's talent, my friends. Talent! (Don't believe me? Try it!))
- Adam's PS is apropos. Up to that point in the letter, ask yourself, why does Adam so love Charles? A love that is clear--now, if it wasn't over the past ten years. The answer is simple: "...because you were my brother."